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Fixing the system

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IBN Live reports on Kapil Sibal’s successful attempt to reserve the IITs for an elite:

The prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have agreed on a compromise formula on the common entrance exam for undergraduate courses after several weeks of face off with the Central Government, particularly HRD Minister Kapil Sibal. At a meeting of IIT Council in New Delhi on Wednesday the directors of all the 15 IITs agreed to implement the new admission format from 2013.

The entire process will consists of two exams – main and advanced – to be held on separate days. While the main exam will be conducted by the CBSE, the advanced exam that is likely to take place about a month after the main exam will be conducted by the IITs. The top 1.5 lakh students from the main exam merit list can take the advanced entrance exam. To be eligible for the IIT merit list the score of the advanced test as well as the condition that the aspirant is in the top 20 percentile of his/her board will be taken into account.

The IIT examination system was perhaps the ultimate meritocratic system that one had in India. It was working, and there was no need to fix it. Mr. Sibal claimed that he had to change it because he wanted to reduce the exam load on school-leaving students. This ostensibly less-demanding system now has two exams instead of one, in addition to a new emphasis on the broken system of state board exams.

Under the old system there were inspiring stories of students from extremely poor families, who passed out of terrible schools, but went on to sit for the exam and get through. Students from barely functioning village schools now have the system stacked against them. Charitable funds which could give a year’s coaching to students in order to place them into a meritocratic elite of the IITs will not have the means to improve whole schools.

Which meaning of the word “fixing” is one supposed to read in this context?

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

June 27, 2012 at 1:38 pm

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